Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Brief Post-Thanksgiving Meditation with the Beach Boys

I was watching a movie last night, and was impressed by the excellent background music. What first got my attention was the Allman Brothers' song, "One Way Out." Later, after more people got shot and beaten, and more great music, they played 'Sail On, Sailor,' and to my surprise, discovered that this song I've been listening to for 40+ years, and attributing to the Doobie Brothers, was, in fact, sung by the Beach Boys.

And then I waxed nostalgic for a bit.

First, I thought about the tragedy and perseverance of Brian Wilson, who was one of those few who have psychotic breaks triggered by drug use. Mark Vonnegut, author of 'Eden Express' and 'Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness, Only More So,' is another, and there are many more.

Second, I thought about an article I read recently concerning the recent spate of sexual misconduct charges. The point of the article was that this was a logical consequence of the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, and really a small manifestation of the purposeful destruction of the family. Somehow, Third Wave Feminists (never heard that term before, but then, I am purposefully ignorant of modern culture) are to blame for this; although it seems to me that what they are describing as Third Wave is more a product than an architect.

Third, I continued meditating on memories of Thanksgivings Past. I hated them, as a general rule, starting around 1960, because they always seemed to be the occasion for visits to/by authority figures who seemed invariably to find fault with me. And the oven-roasted turkeys always resulted in dried-out white meat, which had to be salvaged by copious amounts of gravy. I suppose gravy-flavored straw is better than plain straw, but still...

My brother-in-law Chuck changed Thanksgiving forever for me, sometime in the early to mid 80s. He first introduced us to smoked turkey, and later fried turkey, which redeemed the bird as a food item. Thirty years ago this year, I cooked my first turkey in a smoker, and it was outstanding, so good that five adults and two children consumed almost the entire bird in one meal.

That 1987 Thanksgiving was also the occasion in which I received the third of the three wake-up calls, which confronted me with the truth that I was powerless over alcohol, and that my life had become unmanageable. Surprisingly enough, I wasn't drunk when it happened. It was the statement by a relative who was in the early stages of recovery from drug abuse that the fact that I still drank invalidated my claim to be a recovering addict. It made me take ALMOST the last look at my behavior, before I took my last drink about five weeks later.

I still don't like the holidays. I suppose I like them better than I used to; Thanksgiving is an occasion when I can truly be thankful for my sobriety, and I've outlived the worst of my critics. Being the host of the dinners also permits me to have influence over the guest list, and no one with a penchant for negativity is invited. And at age 64, I can plead infirmity and get away with it, when I'm tired of the conversation, and go sit in my chair without regard for whoever is still in the house; they can chat as long as they want, and go home with plates of food when they are ready to leave.

Or, we can do this:

Peace be on your household.

PS: Here are the Beach Boys performing the song, "Sail On, Sailor" in 2012. The harmonies still are moving.

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